Monday, May 16, 2016

Right now, I'm Mommy.

Lately, I've had a specific type of encouragement pressing me deeply.  In fact, I felt it simply couldn't wait one more moment so I'm sitting here, fresh from the shower, before getting ready, to get my thoughts down.  This encouragement is for any mother who even for one guilty moment, hasn't liked her children, hasn't liked the job motherhood, or the role she was given, or the ongoing struggles within and has questioned why her, why them, why her and them together, etc.  To any mom who has felt she was given more than her share, more than she was capable of and more than she bargained for when she accepted this role.  To any mom who wondered if God made a mistake...

Because all of the above was me, for a good portion of my motherhood career.  There, I said it. 
 My story is unique in that at one time, it involved teachers telling me "all wasn't right" and "please get this evaluated with specialists" which led to years of heartaches, questions with no answers and meeting after meeting with expensive specialists, more school-type people telling me what to do, how to do it, what wasn't working, what I needed to change, how things and people in these conversations didn't measure up and heaps, piles and dung hills of Mama-guilt.  The story took roller coaster dips and dives over the years and school changes.  One said "Definitely Asperger spectrum"... another swore by ADHD, another said "No way  to this or that, and here's why" then another said "For sure this and not that, and here's why" then counsellors and school professionals all had varying opinions that swiveled our brains to the point of exploding and I finally felt done. Just done. 

One day in the swirl of kid hormones it was crushing me.  People were crushing me.  Their advice was crushing me and I didn't know who to trust or believe anymore.  Other, well- meaning moms and their advice, and their experiences from their seemingly perfect children were crushing me. My child's behavior was the straw that made it break.  And I whisper-spewed ugliness and darkness and black, all over my sweet husband, with quietly angry, hurting tears flowing.  I said things I'd been thinking for years that no mama "should" think, let alone say, and the guilt.  I voiced it all.  He gently took both my hands in his and told me that I needed to get control... but I didn't know how.  I felt emotionally broken and incapable.  I wasn't even sure I could find it within myself to like these smallish people I had been given charge over anymore and I hated myself for it.  Adrain told me to pray for a change of heart.  I didn't believe it would make a difference but I knew I couldn't go on this way, so I did pray.  I asked God to work a miracle, not in my life, or my situation or my children or the advice giving mob surrounding me... I asked Him to work it in my small, fist sized heart.

I wish I had written down what happened next. That moment, when one small shift set a course for where I am standing today.  I know it was a lot like a railroad track switch.  My emotional train was headed down one track and somehow the track switch was thrown and I found myself inching forward onto a brand new thought path.  I haven't arrived at my destination, but a year in, I'm  overwhelmed with the view surrounding me compared to what what I was seeing on that other track.

And here's where I come today, with my imperfect mama hands held open and the jury still out because we're still in this thing, to hopefully encourage just one "done" mama out there to press forward. When my heart began to change toward my children, I began to laugh more.  This was key for me because it caused life to lighten up more.  Which allowed me to say yes to more, listen more and be more intentional.  One day, nearly a year ago, and not long after that prayer over my heart, I was sitting across from my teenage boy in a coffee shop, enjoying his company. He shared what was happening in his life, what his thoughts about a certain girl were, and just general trivia that I found interesting and fascinating and completely delightful.  It occurred to me with shock and wonderment, that anyone who didn't find him amazing was daft!  I found him amazing.  Smart, funny, quick witted... handsome, endearing, extroverted, and so much more.  I couldn't imagine how his classmates wouldn't like him and how girls wouldn't think he was irresistible (they do sadly and drive us all crazy with their texts). I realized without even realizing it, I'd gone from frazzled, angry, questioning, exhausted mama to joyful, relaxed, happy, laughing mama.  And it was God.  He had slowly worked the kinks in my heart and thoughts into straight paths that honored Him in the mothering department, and kept my feet on them, headed in the right direction.  Sure, we still have our days and our moments.  I'm the mother of a 13 and 15 year old.  But it's different now.  I know when I'm out of line just like I know when they are.

If you're caught in those early years and you're tired... hang on.  If you're son brought a pocket knife to school in the fifth grade when of course he knew better, to show off to a friend on the bus and is suspended  now and you're wondering if HE WILL EVER UNDERSTAND LIFE... hang on... if you're never able to sleep more than three hour stretches and the bags under your eyes speak volumes... hang on... if your family vacations or even outings to a grocery store where you only need FOUR THINGS end with crying and gnashing of teeth and proclamations that THIS IS THE LAST ONE EVER... hang on.  If you're up to your eyeballs in IEP or 504 meetings... please, please, please hang on.  God has you.. in every last place, every last nerve, every last deep breath you're capable of, and every last tear you cry into your pillow.  He has you.  He will make your paths straight.  Pray your heart out and wear a hole in your skinny jeans because it works.  It's all that works.  And it works well.  

Bless you Mamas.  We're in this together and we're not going to ever be done but we are going to do it RIGHT. 

(P.S Isn't my 8th grader handsome?  He is such a good kid too and has all the right stuff in him.  My heart bursts.)
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Proverbs 3:5-12The Message (MSG)

5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
    your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
    give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
    your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
    don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
    a father’s delight is behind all this.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Outdoor Space & Kurt's Gathering Basket

I wanted to yap all about my garden and yard in this post and I took the time to begin writing what I wanted to say earlier last week and then I accidentally hit publish when it wasn't even half finished (I have never done that before) and quickly deleted it because I didn't know what else to do... so now I have to rethink what I wanted to say and eventually get back to all that... or not! Darn. IT.  (If you subscribers got a half finished post... that is why. Rrrrrr!)

In spite of that.... I could not be MORE crazy excited to share this post with you today. First of all, my dear friend and coworker, Becca, is married to a fabulously talented guy who I have also become friends with and when I begged him to make me a gathering basket out of wire and wood... he agreed.

Within days he had knocked out an amazing basket and I enthusiastically proclaimed that he should henceforth open an Etsy shop and sell those bad boys!!  He actually liked the idea and went to work with an even better design and is now OPEN for your business (here.)  You need to know a few things- Kurt and Becca... you would love them.  They are young and sweet and have precious hearts and I've just flat out adopted them both.  When you buy from his brand new little shop, you are supporting two of the loveliest people you could hope to know.

That said, let's talk details.  I got my hands on one of Kurt's new baskets and they are AMAZING.  (I photographed it and he even used some of my pics for his listings!) The smaller mesh wire is perfect for keeping pea pods and such from slipping out and his finish work is fantastic.  This is a very high quality item that I would totally recommend. Plus, its just cute decor so there are a dozen ways you could use this.

Also, how cute would this be with gardening odds and ends tucked inside as a gift?!

We'll talk yard and garden again at some point... if I can keep from hitting publish mid-edit next time!! Sheesh.

If you want to join me in supporting Kurt and Becca and their new Etsy venture, you can find the shop here... happy gathering basket shopping!!
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Monday, May 2, 2016

How I stopped hating Mother's Day...

Last year I put an honest (raw) confession, about hating Mother's Day, out on Instagram. I was blown away by the responses.  Mainly, that I was one of so many who felt like that, on this day when I "should" be feeling joyful and celebrated and such.  Most of us all agreed that our kids don't always behave perfectly on these special occasion days and most of us also agreed that we felt really selfish saying that we dreaded the day, out loud.  My confession went a bit like this,  "I'll be honest here.  Mother's day was never really my favorite.  Like, maybe I had too high of an expectation that the kids wouldn't fight on that one day each year, or not be disrespectful or melt down and then somehow it often turned into the worst day ever, until I almost dreaded it!" 

I will tell you that though I'm not a perfect mother, and though the jury is still out on many Mother's Days to come, I know that deep down I have it figured out-  The sure fire way to beat the Mother's Day blues, and the way to stop hating Mother's Day for good, regardless of how kids behave, what is contributed or not contributed in making it a special day, and regardless of how relaxing it is for us Mamas. 

This is epic... yet so simple anyone can do it.  It's not going to shock you if you've been reading along here for any given time but... it begins in us.  In our hearts, our thoughts, our perspectives and our own choices, as we Mamas set the emotinal tone for the course of the day.  Last year, I went into the weekend prepared to try and bless them... and not expect so much out of the ordinary (because maybe I was and maybe that pressure was part of the problem) and I went into the day deciding in advance to be thankful for all the little daily moments. I even went into it prepared to delight in taking care of them... if it meant I did the dishes myself, or reminded them to get homework done or whatever I typically do when it's not Mother's Day... I decided to do those things with that old thankfulness of heart and relish in the chores and serving of these people that blessed my life with the gift of motherhood, by simply existing.  Of course, it changed how I looked at them.  It changed how I appreciated any detail, no matter how small.  It turned a clean car, (cleaned in the fashion a couple of middle schoolers clean anything) into a priceless gift. It changed "just being home" into a respite for my soul as I savored the sunshine and their presence. You know something... it seemed like they secretly banded together to do small things for me to make it extra special... but maybe they just seemed extra special because I purposed in my heart to see them as such?  Regardless, we ended up blessing one another and it was the best mother's day in my memory.

I don't know how I forget this, but whenever we get our eyes off ourselves, and choose a thankful Mama heart, we are always the ones who end up feeling that big, smile stretching delight.  It's always the answer, even- or perhaps especially- on Mother's day.

Be blessed dear friends and pass that sweetness on.

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P.S. The delightful gathering basket in my first photo was made by my friend Kurt, and he is planning to sell them in a new Etsy shop soon!  Stay tuned as I'll be sure to share more details once his shop is open!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Celebrating the end of Birthday season

I'm dragging myself over the finish line y'all.  As many of you long-time readers know, March-April is usually wild with five family birthdays- three of which are under my own roof, plus Easter and spring break!  It's so fun, but oh my... is it nap time yet? 

I didn't want another week to go by without checking in here... but I also feel like I'm a bit scattered, so like always, this will be good and random.  (Hmmm. I think I've heard myself say that before.  Uh... in every post lately?) Also, I've got a ton of pretty photos from all the party prepping and such that I have been wanting to share.  I'll only share a few of them or else we'd be here all day. 

I do have to share one kid story and I hope I won't get into trouble for it. (By the way, it's so hard when your kids get old enough to tell you they don't want you to blog about them or take photos etc.  It limits me since they are kind of my world... but if you have been wondering why they show up less and less, that's why.  Little stinkers... growing up and having opinions. Ha!) Anyway, Ava, my little introvert, told me that she didn't want to have anyone but Adrain, Joe and I and one friend on her actual birthday.  She wanted Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon for dinner and an ice cream cake for dessert and one friend for only a few hours.  I laughed and laughed but that's what she is getting tomorrow. A day with few people for limited time and special foods was her heart's request... I couldn't possibly say no.  Sweet little thing. I am learning so much about what introverts need. 

 First things first.  This is a photo from my 365 project.  My son's 15th birthday cake.  Always carrot. He specially requested the frosting carrots on top.  I tell you.  These kids have me wrapped around their fingers when it comes to birthday wishes!! (Clearly I delight in this.)
 Spring has sprung here in the PNW but something is eating my clematis.  I am thinking earwigs?  I must find out what to do about that.  (Otherwise it's very pretty and expect a yard and garden post at some point!)

 I wanted to make a centerpiece for Ava that she would enjoy... then it hit me- kick it old school with roses which she loves, in a shallow bowl and floating candles.  Then 1994 called and it wanted it's wedding centerpiece back. Bwahahaahaha!
    Joann's, bless you for your cute party ware.
 Making this ice cream cake for Ava. 
 Adrain got spoiled too.  We made mojito pitchers all last weekend for the lovely family that were in and out to celebrate his 40th.  He got sliders and Alaska king crab legs (thanks to his sister) on two back to back nights too.  All this pretty in the kitchen forced me to change out two cupboards and the items on the counter tops.  Because.  I love when I get that bug to change things. 

 I was thrilled to find these little sandwich picks at a local shop.  They were perfect for the sliders I made him.  I had no idea you could find slider buns at the grocery store.  That was a happy find! 
 This sign is my heartbeat right now so I keep it ever present.  I did want to mention as well, how thankful I am that you're a community that let's me be vulnerable and share my life with you.  I always do so with my husband's sweet blessing and I'm amazed time and time again, how God uses you to encourage me, and how often I hear that someone was touched because they felt like maybe they were all alone in a particular struggle and when I share mine in a real and vulnerable way, they realize they were not!  We were meant to encourage each other in this journey and my heart soars when that all comes together and we do.  I certainly don't always get it right, but fears have been my shadow lately and I've been daily encouraged to have faith and share that real struggle with you because it's not always easy.  I am so thankful for this community. 

I also wanted to share this farmhouse pillow that I received recently from Ever Thine Home.  Isn't it the CUTEST???  I love having this little reminder in my bedroom nook.

Here's some honesty. As Adrain and I have been journeying together with his new job and such, it's been months of juggling our relationship while he put in crazy hours studying and working, and we regularly talk about the state of things which I think is important for all marriages by the way, not just during those trying times.  Sometimes I'm demanding and selfish and wish for more of his attention (that was yucky to type out but sadly true) and I'm constantly blown away by his patient love for me in spite of ME!  He always stops to talk it out and reminds me how much he loves me and shows me kindness when I'm having a wife tantrum.  Bless his heart. I'm going to be grateful for his love all my life. He shows me constantly, what unconditional actually means.
Lastly, after many months of agonizing over it and praying and yapping about the pros and cons, I did reopen my etsy shop.  Just a quick mention here, and don't worry, I won't bombard you with it.  (grin) I added this sweet macaron photo print as well, but that's all I'll say on the subject.  

I'm off to finish sweet Ava's birthday cake.  I hope she loves it as we ring in 13.  I'm celebrating these new beginnings with Adrain's job, and having two teenagers, and one about to get a driver's permit.  Yes, I am even celebrating that!  It's going to be quite a year! I love the people my children are becoming and I had no idea teenagers would be this much fun.  They keep me laughing more and more and I am delighting in their company in ways I never imagined. 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Random thoughts & house pretties

Today felt like a good day for random chat time.  We haven't had one of those in ages so grab your coffee and let's gab about life. 

We wrapped up spring break and my family didn't go anywhere other than Seattle for a weekend but we had glorious (rare) April sunshine, so I wore shorts (my new ones for my capsule wardrobe which I actually really loved and were short without being SHORT- these ones in navy) and spent as much time outside, in my garden and hammock as possible. It's amazing the difference that sunshine makes in life. Most of you don't even KNOW what I'm talking about... you probably get entire seasons with it~ We get it so rarely, gray skies being more our norm, here in the Pacific NW, that it's a total treat.

Not that you care but I just started a 30 day squat challenge.  I may not  be able to move by the end of this week.  Who knew squats could be so intense?  I am not taking a before/after of my booty to share here...  Just so you know.   (You're as relieved as I am about that fact.)

 My garden is getting reworked this year.  I tend to push veggies out more and more each year in favor of flowers.  This year has been the same. I'm basically planting tomatoes, radishes, and pickling cucumbers.  Oh and lettuces and such.  My lilac has tons of little buds on it, but no opening blooms this season, and my 12 year old wisteria is also still bloomless.  I don't have something they need in my soil and I've also distressed my wisteria like they say but alas, it's not worked. Help? So, I'll have to try and figure those things out.  That said, Adrain's grandma (family friend actually) told me last year that I could have as many lilacs from her bushes as I wanted.  Which in reality would strip her bushes bare so I did restrain myself quite a bit.  I ended up with a full galvanized bucket on my kitchen table which I'd been dreaming about for an entire year so I was thrilled. 

I just read a book on boundaries- called Boundaries by Dr Henry Cloud & Dr John Townsend. It had been recommended to me by maybe a dozen friends/mentors over the years.  (Apparently I have an issue in this area?)  I think it (will be) life changing for me.  I am a classic people pleaser and avoid all conflicts at all costs.  Which means I seldom say no, and when I do, I give a million excuses for it and then I feel bad and guilty for a week, fretting and chasing the person with my apologies.  Uh.  That sounded just as lame as it is.  It took truth from a wise counselor/friend in my life who looked at me and told me that I was enabling people to walk on me emotionally with my insecure behavior, and that chasing people with my explanations and apologies wasn't making it better, rather it was making it worse!  (How did I not see this destructive pattern before?) Then I read the book and realized I have got to learn to stand firmly on my No.  I think my goal for this next year will be to not explain myself when I must say no, which the book said, opens us up for being argued with or talked out of our No, or worse yet gives the other person power over us to not "forgive my no" though we generally only say no after looking at the situation from all sides and realizing it's not right for us, our my family or situations, etc.  I had about twenty major take-aways from this book and that's only ONE of them.  I think my biggest fears with setting boundaries for myself come from anticipating the negative reaction I am sure to get from the other party and then the conflicts that arise after.  I am such a work in progress.  And life is filled with conflicts that are unavoidable.  I don't much like that but I felt like the bottom line of this book was that in the end, you can only control YOU.  And that's where you can work really hard to do it well.  Have you read it?  Do you handle your boundary setting well?

I hung two platters on the wall in the dining area.  It just came to me one day that they needed to be hung.  Creamy, neutral goodness and I hardly ever used that huge one from Target anyway.  Far better to "use" it daily on the wall than seldom, in my platter cupboard. 

While on spring break, Adrain took Ava out on a daddy daughter date and gave her a promise ring.  We did the Passport to Purity with our son but we went a different route with Ava and she kind of knew that it was coming after our previous dates and talks but she was so excited.  The next day she was just sitting looking at her hand and said, "Mom, how long does it take to get used to a pretty ring like this?"  I laughed... so sweet.  (I also told her about how I almost crashed my car while driving after getting engaged because I could see the reflection of my hand and ring on the windshield.)

Next week Adrain turns 40 and Ava turns 13. (I think my brain keeps thinking she is way older because she acts older and looks older.  I'll be in celebration mode- aka need a nap mode. Ha!)

We got a new rug for the living room. I could write an entire post on this you guys.  The furry rug was for ME, so it got moved into the master bedroom where I delight in it daily.  The reason... it wasn't a hill I was willing to die on.  As a mother of teens, I'm realizing that my sanity has a price tag. (Somehow this fact escaped me previously) I have told my kids a million times how awful it is to eat in front of a TV.  I truly have!  I have outlawed it for most of their life but as they get older, I'm way more relaxed about things like that.  It just sort of happened.  I used to run a tight ship and one day I realized that 1) I didn't need to 2) they mostly know by now what's okay and what's not 3) I care a little less about the what and more about the who- they matter more to me than what they do or don't do 4) at some point they have to make their own choices.  If they spilled the cough syrup all over the floor last night, they are big enough to recognize that it didn't get cleaned properly and is still sticky the today and know they have to be the one to do something about it.  Sometimes they have to go back over it five more times to get it all. Allegedly. (ha!)

But now, they aren't toddlers and they love eating a snack in there no matter what I think or don't think.  It drives me crazy but I'm much happier if I just let them, as I'm fairly certain that they do it when I'm not around to frown at it anyway.  I decided not to die on that hill as it felt like it was a losing UPHILL battle.  However, the beautiful furry rug was getting spilled on sometimes and that was getting under my skin even if it got cleaned up.  It was also getting tracked over (and even that one visitor who wiped muddy feet on it) (I know.) so I decided that for everyone's sake and my own precious sanity and energy, (and personal boundaries) to move the dang rug in favor of a darker, low-pile, comfortable to lounge on, easily vacuumable inexpensive replacement.  I found this beauty on Wayfair for under $50 and free shipping so Adrain gave me the go-ahead.  It was worth every penny! 

 We have a new to us coffee table as well.  This lovely mid-century table came from my boss's house and I sanded down the top and the wood lip around it that must have housed a glass top at one point.  I made it flush and smooth and painted it... white. Ta-Da! (I know you're shocked by that color choice.)

 I am in need of a good book recommendation if anyone has one?  I just finished all of Jennifer L Scott's Madame Chic books and now I'm loaning them out to everyone I know.  That good!

Well, thanks for the Tuesday morning chat.  Y'all are so sweet.  Chat back in comments if you can jump through all the hoops to leave me one. (SO sorry... the spammers are back at it.)

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Monday, April 4, 2016

You might feel like you're just one wad of gum on the wall...

I'm not in charge. 

I've probably recited those words to myself about a million times over the last year.  I've blogged dozens of times, talking in circles because I couldn't share details, but all the while, trying my hardest to wrap my brain around our circumstances, my lack of faith, and the way I wanted to come out the other side.  And now, the details are out and we can just talk plainly, which is far more my style anyway.  I've always  been a rather straight shooter... when asked how I am, I'm far more likely to actually tell you in detail, (making you wish you hadn't asked?) than say that I'm "fine" or "good" or "not great."  If I'm good, you'll know- exactly why... and the same goes for those days I'm not good.  So this open blogging suits me far better than cryptic messages about having faith in the hard times or the unknowns.



 We spent the past weekend in Seattle, celebrating my husband's passing of his final exam for his new career with Thrivent Financial.  He is so excited to be on this journey and I wish I had been his biggest cheerleader all along the way but that's not what happened.  I dragged my feet.  I threw a lot of fits over the idea that we were willingly exchanging a steady paycheck that often didn't make the ends meet, for a 100% commission, faith based career.  I got mad a lot.  I cried. I feared. I fought with Adrain and then with God and when neither of them budged, I struggled.  I didn't want to have to have big faith.  I didn't want to be stretched.  I did want my sweet man to be happy and so I struggled with my selfishness and beat myself up nearly constantly over my failure to do this well. We all know that big things don't come from comfort zones... well I like comfort zones! Adrain steadily ignored my whining and poured himself into his studies day and night, while juggling a full time management job. I began to see once again, the beautiful character of this man I married. He gives of himself constantly, and has always been the biggest example of Christ's unconditional love for me, besides the love I was raised with from my own parents. (Someday I want to write a book about my childhood for y'all.)  Adrain was doing what he felt best for this entire family in the long term, though he was aware the adjustment would be challenging.  And he worked sacrificially for us through the entire journey, wearing himself thin with it.  He was daily up, before 4 am to study for a couple of hours, before heading off to work 50+ hours, then home to study again until bedtime and all weekend long.  For months.  He pushed himself nonstop.  Then the day before he was going to give his 2 weeks notice, his assistant manager was killed on his way home from work, in a car crash.  Adrain swallowed his own agenda (no surprise, once again) and didn't give his notice or breathe a word of his plans to leave... he stayed on another couple of weeks to help get things at work settled and to be there for his crew and customers, before giving his 2 weeks notice. 

We went out of town with Adrain for his final test, with plans to celebrate, as we have missed his face! We had a lovely time in nearby downtown Seattle, staying at an artsy hotel that was just my type (Hotel Monaco).  We did all the touristy things like riding the monorail and sipping Starbucks, museum hopping, and watching all the street artists.  And Pike Place. Of course.  I love Pike Place.  I love the weirdness and all the flowers.  And I love the moments of clarity that come from being around all the artistic inspiration.  I felt the tingle of a blog post forming in my heart over the gum wall of all things.  It's incredibly gross.  An alley area under the market, where the walls are literally dripping with people's chewed gum. (My son almost couldn't bring himself to finish his lunch when I brought it up so if you've got a queasy stomach, try not to over think the whole gum part  of it and look at the artistic side with me.) It's colorful and unique.  Each piece of gum working in the whole scheme to make something grand.  And it got me thinking... as we do our journey in this life, God is using the ways we fit into the stories around us for His good.  That includes our failures and our victories! All of them make the big picture of our life and you know something... it's beautiful.

I shared this on Instagram last night, in reflection, "I sit here tonight, after a fun and short trip out of town to celebrate my sweet man's accomplishments, so thankful.  As I look backward over the past six months journey, I am slightly ashamed at the way fears drove me down the wrong path continually.  I regrouped regularly, but my own instincts for self, comfort, control and preservation always steered me back off course & you can't even know the strife I caused myself (& even the rest of this tribe that I love) because of it.  The thing I come back to again & again, is that God's faithfulness never has and never will depend on mine.  He does good in spite of me!!  He plans for my future even when I wreck every moment along the way with bad attitudes, questions & faithlessness.  When we get to the finish line some day I may be crawling on hands and knees, covered in scars of my own making, but I will be the most grateful of them all, because I will be so aware of what God continued to rescue me from-MY OWN SELF. (Not sure if you are facing an unknown and failing miserably at doing it well, but know this... God is greater than all our good... and far greater than all our fails.  His plans for you, they are GOOD.  Believe it.)"

What I love most about this life, is that it doesn't matter so much how we did yesterday, if we regroup and get it together for today.  It's not how you start, it's how you end.  There's always a chance for a comeback. I don't know your details. Maybe for you it's relationships that continue to derail around you.  Or addictions in shopping, substances or thought patterns.  Maybe your details involve fear, comparisons, control or all of the above on any given day. I don't know... what I do know, is that God is greater than our details and failures.  We're in this together, making something pretty great.  You might feel like an insignificant part of the big picture and you may not know how you're making a difference, even if you fail as often as I do.  And honestly, you might feel like you're just one wad of gum on the wall, but without you there, forging ahead and doing your best to be a part of this, you'd leave a hole. So be encouraged to keep trying and do today.  Just today.  Make it better than yesterday and let God use your story as part of His plan.  It's a good one.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

P.S. I have loved all your thoughts on my previous post- the capsule wardrobe.  It's been such a game changer for me personally, and going away with this new mindset made packing crazy easy. I've had a bunch of emails asking for photos of me wearing the actual capsule outfits so you can see my combinations... I'll try and work on that, but here was my outfit on day two for sight seeing & walking lots.  (Sperry top siders, dark skinnies, black stripe tee, straw fedora and leather bag.)

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